Mobile App Monetization Models

Most mobile app developers create apps mainly due to the fact that it is their passion. However, this process involves costs, in terms of time, effort and most importantly, money. While creating an app, submitting it to an app marketplace and actually getting it approved is a feat in itself, it also becomes important for the developer to think of ways and means by which he or she can make money from that app.

Selecting the right mobile monetization model is most vital to the success of your app, while also being the most difficult step to cross. Here, you need to look at creating a decent enough source of revenue, without compromising the overall quality and user experience of your app.

Paid Applications

making money with apps
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A paid application model requires you to quote a price for your app. You stand to make good money if your app succeeds in the marketplace and achieves top ranking. However, it is not always a guarantee that you can make enough money with paid apps.

Usually, users prefer to pay only for apps from established and popular developers. Besides, you will have mobile platform-related issues to deal with here – Android users are not so much willing to pay for apps as iOS users. You should additionally keep in mind that app stores retain a percentage of the profit you make from your app and hence, you may not actually get to make that much money at the end of it all. 

Free Applications

You have good enough ways to earn decent revenue from your free app. These include freemium models and in-app purchases. Freemium models involve offering the basic app for free and charging users to unlock and access premium app content.

In-app purchases, which can be used with both free and paid apps, are flexible and convenient. You can choose from among different types of in-app purchases. Users can be asked to make a purchase to access new app features, receive updates and unlock new levels and weapons in game apps. Needless to say, your app needs to offer great engagement value and be of high quality, in order to tempt users to make an in-app purchase. 

Mobile Advertising

Mobile advertising has its pluses and minuses. However, the fact remains that it is one of the most popular, as also the most widely used, among app monetization models. There are various types of mobile ad platforms available today, each offering different features and benefits. Most developers try out different combinations of the mobile ad platforms and then choose those which work the best for their apps. Here is a list of the platforms:

  • Banner ads, which are the most preferred form of ads, can be placed within the UI of an app. You can choose from among different banner sizes and experiment with the placing and content of your ad.
  • Interstitials are ads which are placed at entry or exit points of a mobile app. They usually appear as full-screen pop-up ads. They can include rich content such as images, videos and links to other websites. These, when used appropriately, can help you generate higher revenue.
  • Offer walls are another popular way of reaching out to app users. They send users full-screen prompts of targeted offers, discounts and unlock levels in exchange for the download of other apps or registering for other offers.
  • Surveys, as a method of app monetization, are fast gaining in popularity. They are rendered as an overlay within an app and hence, you do not need to alter the app UI or any of the other elements in any way. While the user enters a draw for completing the survey, you get paid for each survey completed via your app.
  • Notification ads send users ads even without them having to open an app. While these types of ads pay developers more, they are also most intrusive and can annoy the user by serving up too many ads.


This model involves offering a mobile app for free and then charging the user for the subscription service provided. It works best for apps that deliver live feed data (for example, newspaper and magazine subscriptions), in exchange for a fixed monthly fee.

This app monetization model requires you to put in much more effort at developing and maintaining your app. While it can help generate a good amount of revenue, it works only if you offer high quality at all times and your services are popular with the users.